CASE STUDY: EDELMAN

BRIGHT AND PAS­TEL HUES DOM­I­NATE THIS OF­FICE SPACE WHERE COR­PO­RATE PUR­SUITS ARE CRE­ATIVELY COM­BINED WITH CUL­TURAL CON­TEXT

Commercial Interior Design - - Contents - WORDS: NAMITHA MADHU

A har­mo­nius fu­sion of colours and cul­tural in­flu­ences make the Dubai of­fices of Edelman pub­lic re­la­tions firm by Roar a de­light to work in.

dE­SIGNED BY rOAR, eDELMAN’S NEW OF­fiCE IN dUBAI SPANS 1,000M2 AND IS LO­CATED IN THE NO­TABLE oNE Jlt BUILD­ING. tHE WORKSPACE FOR THE fiRM BUILDS ON THE SUC­CESS OF eDELMAN’S aBU dHABI OF­fiCE – ALSO DE­SIGNED BY THE AWARD­WIN­NING fiRM BACK IN 2016.

“eDELMAN, THE WORLD’S LARGEST PUB­LIC RE­LA­TIONS COM­PANY, HAD AC­QUIRED LO­CAL fiRM dABO & ¢O. tHE BRIEF WAS TO CRE­ATE NOT JUST A GREAT OF­fiCE SPACE, BUT A HOME THAT WOULD HELP UNIFY TWO TEAMS THAT

HAD BEEN COM­PETI­TORS FOR YEARS, AND HAD PRE­VI­OUSLY WORKED IN SEP­A­RATE OF­fiCES,” SAYS PALLAVI dEAN, FOUNDER AND CRE­ATIVE DI­REC­TOR OF rOAR.

oNE OF THE BIG DE­SIGN CHAL­LENGES WITH eDELMAN dUBAI WAS TO CRE­ATE A LINK TO

THE aBU dHABI OF­fiCE, AND YET GIVE IT A DIS­TINCT CHAR­AC­TER.

tHE PROJECT BUILDS UPON THE ‘CUL­TURAL VIL­LAGES’ CON­CEPT rOAR HAD USED FOR eDELMAN’S aBU dHABI OF­fiCE.

“tHEY HAD LOVED THE ‘CUL­TURAL VIL­LAGES’ CON­CEPT WE DE­VEL­OPED FOR aBU dHABI:

THE IDEA OF CRE­AT­ING SEP­A­RATE CITIES WITHIN A CITY, SUCH AS sOHO, fiALL sTREET AND HAR­LEM IN nEW ffiORK. bUT WE COULDN’T JUST RE­PEAT IT. sO, WE TOOK IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN dUBAI, ADDING LAY­ERS OF COLOUR, TEX­TURE AND FUR­NI­TURE TO GIVE EACH VIL­LAGE MORE PER­SON­AL­ITY,” EX­PLAINS dEAN.

tHE PROJECT HAS BEEN EX­E­CUTED AF­TER EX­TEN­SIVE RE­SEARCH — “THE MOST IN-DEPTH rOAR HAS EVER CON­DUCTED”, AC­CORD­ING TO dEAN.

“fiE COM­BINED TWO RE­SEARCH METHOD­OLO­GIES. tHE fiRST IS rOAR’S OWN Ufld (USER eX­PE­RI­ENCE dE­SIGN) PROCESS, WHICH WE HAD USED TO GREAT EF­FECT FOR eDELMAN’S aBU dHABI OF­fiCE. tHIS TAKES fiND­INGS FROM FO­CUS GROUPS, IN­TER­VIEWS, QUESTIONNAIRES AND OB­SER­VA­TION AND RE­fiNES THEM INTO A ONE-PAGE LIST OF PRI­OR­I­TIES. iN AD­DI­TION TO THIS, WE WORKED WITH THE WORK­PLACE PSY­CHOL­OGY TEAM AT HER­MAN mILLER, US­ING THEIR ‘LIV­ING OF­fiCE’ PROCESS. tHE RE­SULT WAS A DEEP UN­DER­STAND­ING OF THE NEEDS OF SE­NIOR AND JU­NIOR STAFF, AND A THOR­OUGH,

re­search-based set of guide­lines to frame our de­sign de­ci­sions.”

One of the strik­ing fea­tures of the project has been the use of colour to de­mar­cate sec­tions of the of­fice and give them a per­son­al­ity. This has been in­spired by a study con­ducted by the Uni­ver­sity of Texas that showed that colour im­pacts mood and well­be­ing.

“We wanted to test drive this the­ory,” says Dean.

Blue is the dom­i­nant colour in the en­trance, re­flect­ing Edelman’s brand­ing.

Blue also lends the main re­cep­tion zone, named Civic Square, a rich hos­pi­tal­ity look and feel. “We wanted peo­ple to feel like they were walk­ing not into an of­fice, but a bou­tique ho­tel,” says Marcela Munoz, as­so­ciate with Roar, and one of the lead de­sign­ers on the project.

The end of the of­fice has tonnes of green and pink, while the in­te­rior pal­ette has an om­bre gra­di­ent colour tran­si­tion.

The el­e­ment that con­nects the en­tire gra­di­ent ef­fect is a se­ries of ceil­ing baf­fles that ro­tate slightly to cre­ate a dy­namic move­ment through the space. The ceil­ing baf­fles serve as a wayfind­ing de­vice and give each de­part­ment an iden­tity. The colour tran­si­tion on the ceil­ing is matched with the floor. The desks, join­ery and glass par­ti­tions all sym­bol­ise the zone they are in.

Colour has also been used to add a play­ful vibe to the of­fice. “Most of the Edelman Dubai of­fice has a fresh, young, vi­brant look and feel: we have a ‘go ba­nanas’ cre­ative lounge (wall­pa­per by Mr Per­swall) and a ‘hang­ing mon­keys’ phone booth room (wall­pa­per by House of Hack­ney),” re­marks Dean.

Much at­ten­tion has been placed on cre­at­ing a space that would bal­ance two au­di­ences or “strad­dle two worlds”.

“Edelman is a global me­dia en­tity with a pre­dom­i­nantly mil­len­nial work­force. How­ever, their clients are mainly large com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ment agen­cies, who are typ­i­cally older. The of­fice there­fore needed a youth­ful en­ergy, but with a feel of ma­tu­rity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism,” says Dean.

Edelman Dubai starts and fin­ishes with two bold in­te­rior ar­chi­tec­tural state­ments.

“At the en­trance, the Civic Square is the most dra­matic space. The sweep­ing curves in an oth­er­wise lin­ear floor­plate punc­tu­ated with a shal­low dome in the ceil­ing is a pow­er­ful ar­chi­tec­tural ges­ture. To the back of the space, the eye is drawn to the sky­scraper sky­line peek­ing through floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. The im­pres­sion is very much that of the lobby of a bou­tique de­sign ho­tel, with a blend of cus­tom-de­signed pieces and de­signer fur­ni­ture. The fi­nal space is what

WE CALL THE UR­BAN PARK: MORE SWEEP­ING CURVES, THIS TIME IN A STEP FOR­MAT TO CRE­ATE A SHOW-AND-TELL SPACE FOR PRE­SEN­TA­TIONS TO CLIENTS AND STAFF ‘TOWN HALL’ MEET­INGS. iT ALSO DOU­BLES AS A LOUNGE AND CAFé FOR STAFF, WITH CAFé STYLE SEAT­ING AND RECESSED NOOKS FOR DIS­CREET CON­VER­SA­TIONS,” SHE EX­PLAINS.

¢ITY lOFTS DISTRICT — THE fiRST SPACE VIS­I­TORS EN­TER AF­TER THE RE­CEP­TION — IS THE MOST SO­PHIS­TI­CATED SPACE IN THE OF­fiCE.

“iT’S A flEX­I­BLE HY­BRID OF A MEET­ING ROOM, CO-WORK­ING SPACE AND A PRI­VATE OF­fiCE. tHIS IS WHERE THE YOUNG

CRE­ATIVES IN JEANS AND T-SHIRTS MEET

THE HIGH PAY­ING CLIENTS IN SUITS. iT’S

ALSO A CO-WORK­ING SPACE FOR CLIENTS

AND CON­SUL­TANTS VIS­IT­ING THE OF­fiCE — A COM­MUTER WORK SPACE,” SAYS dEAN.

aF­TER ¢ITY lOFTS, VIS­I­TORS EN­TER THE

MAIN WORK ZONE: THE ¢REATIVE dISTRICT. tHE ¢REATIVE dISTRICT IS SET IN AN OM­BRE COLOUR SCHEME TO LEND IT A PLAY­FUL PER­SON­AL­ITY. tHE CEIL­ING, CAR­PETS, MEET­ING ROOMS AND BREAK­OUT SPA­CES

FOR DIF­FER­ENT DE­PART­MENTS ARE COLOUR CO­OR­DI­NATED, WITH AN OM­BRE EF­FECT fiL­TER­ING ACROSS THE LARGE, OPEN flOOR PLATE.

FI­NALLY, VIS­I­TORS AR­RIVE AT THE UR­BAN PARK, A SPACE FEA­TUR­ING A CAFé-STYLE AM­PHITHE­ATRE SPACE, A MULTI-FUNC­TION AREA FOR PUB­LIC MEET­INGS, PRE­SEN­TA­TIONS, EAT­ING LUNCH AND IN­FOR­MAL MEET­INGS. aLL STRIK­ING A BAL­ANCE BE­TWEEN FOR­MAL­ITY

AND IN­FOR­MAL­ITY, CRE­ATIVE AND COR­PO­RATE.

oNE OF THE BIG­GEST STAND-OUT FEA­TURES OF THE DE­SIGN PROCESS HAS BEEN THE USE OF WORKS BY LO­CAL ARTISTS AND CRAFTS­MEN.

“iT WAS IM­POR­TANT TO IN­FUSE LO­CAL REF­ER­ENCES, WITHOUT RE­SORT­ING TO CLICHéS. fiE ACHIEVED THIS BY EM­BRAC­ING LO­CAL

ART. sPECIf­i­CALLY, WE COM­MIS­SIONED PAINT­INGS AND IN­STAL­LA­TIONS FROM TWO eMI­RATI ARTISTS: fflEINAB aL HASHEMI AND KHALID sHA­FAR,” COM­MENTS dEAN.

tHE RE­CEP­TION AREA FEA­TURES A CUS­TOM­MADE WALL IN­STAL­LA­TION BY KHALID sHA­FAR THAT USES THE IQAL, THE BLACK CORD WORN BY eMI­RATI MEN TO KEEP THEIR HEAD COV­ER­ING IN PLACE. iT CRE­ATES A VIS­UAL REP­RE­SEN­TA­TION (IN mORSE CODE) OF ffICE PRES­I­DENT AND PRIME mIN­IS­TER OF THE UNITED aRAB eMI­RATES, AND rULER OF dUBAI, HH sHEIKH mO­HAMMED BIN rASHID aL mAKTOUM’S QUOTE AT THE aRAB mE­DIA FO­RUM 2018: “tO HAR­NESS ALL EF­FORTS TO SERVE THE COUN­TRY

AND THE CIT­I­ZEN WHER­EVER IT IS”.

fiALL ART BY eMI­RATI ARTIST fflEINAB aL HASHEMI, BASED ON SATEL­LITE IM­AGES OF dUBAI, GROUNDS THE ¢ITY lOFTS SPACE IN ITS LO­CAL CON­TEXT.

tHE DE­SIGN HAS SEV­ERAL SUB­TLE NODS TO THE iS­LAMIC WORLD, SUCH AS THE ARCHES IN THE JOIN­ERY AND IN­TE­RI­ORS COU­PLED WITH THE SHAL­LOW BLUE DOME IN THE RE­CEP­TION

“tHE OVER­ALL EF­FECT IS TO CRE­ATE A SENSE OF PLACE: THAT THIS IS AN OF­fiCE IN dUBAI, NOT dEN­VER OR dUSSELDORF,” COM­MENTS dEAN.

tHE OF­fiCE HAS A WIDE RANGE OF WORK­ING OP­TIONS: SIT­TING DESKS, STAND­ING DESKS, IN­DI­VID­UAL OF­fiCE SPA­CES AND IN­FOR­MAL COL­LAB­O­RA­TION SPA­CES, AS WELL AS ROOMS WITH A DED­I­CATED TECH­NI­CAL FUNC­TION, SUCH AS A GREEN ROOM FOR VIDEO AND tff fiLM­ING.

“fiE’VE AIMED TO CRE­ATE AN ECLEC­TIC MIX WITH THE FUR­NI­TURE — REFRAINING FROM THE OFT-USED COM­MER­CIAL DESKING AND SEAT­ING SYS­TEMS,” SAYS dEAN.

“FOR THE WORKSTATIONS, WE MADE A CON­SCIOUS EF­FORT TO VARY THE MA­TE­RIAL AND THE SHAPE OF THE DESKS. sOME WORKTOPS ARE WHITE WHILE OTH­ERS ARE IN WOOD, EACH WITH A CUS­TOM COLOUR AC­CES­SORY TO RE­flECT THE ZONE IT SITS IN. eACH ‘VIL­LAGE’ HAS A VA­RI­ETY OF WORK PO­SI­TIONS, WITH SOME SIT­TING DESKS AND A STAND­ING DESK AT THE END OF EACH ROW. tASK CHAIRS ARE BY ffITRA.”

tHE PROJECT ALSO MAKES OF A BROAD VA­RI­ETY OF LIGHT­ING PROD­UCTS, FROM THE LIKES OF FLOS, eSTILUZ, sTU­DIO iTALIA, aRO­MAS DEL ¢AMPO, d¢fi EDI­TIONS, sELETTI, eXCLOOSIVA, PETITE FRITURE, ffIBIA, fflEROLIGHTING, aXO lIGHT, AND mATHIEU ¢HALLIERES.

“FOR THE ¢IVIC sQUARE RE­CEP­TION AREA TO CRE­ATE THE IM­PRES­SION OF WALK­ING INTO A BOU­TIQUE DE­SIGN HO­TEL, WE’VE USED THE CURVED FORMS OF A lIGNE rOSET SOFA AND dRIADE ARMCHAIRS COU­PLED WITH lA PALMA SIDE TABLES,” SHE ADDS.

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